Brewed from real tea leaves prior to bottling for balanced tea flavor. No artificial sweeteners or colors. Available in several flavor options including lemon, black tea, raspberry, sweetened, and unsweetened.
A few repeat customers complain of batches that tasted "off." Sweet black tea flavor may be too sweet for some customers. Some cases arrived with close expiration dates.
Trusted brand in tea. Powdered form is easy to mix to satisfy individual tastes. Comes in various sizes and flavors, including popular lemon. Also available in diet that doesn't contain sugar. Affordable.
Contains artificial food color. A few repeat customers say it tastes differently than it use to. Some canisters arrived dented/damaged.
Classic tea bags by a longtime popular brand. Tea is blended to produce excellent, traditional flavor. Value priced, as there are enough tea bags to make several gallons. Comes in several varieties including decaffeinated.
Some packs had flavor that seemed stale. Tea leaves can spill out of the bags during brewing, and end up in the tea.
USDA organic, with few ingredients and no artificial sweeteners or colors. Comes in glass bottles that consumers say don't interfere with the taste. Available in several unique flavor blends like lemon/ honeysuckle and wild blackberry/sage.
Priciest option on our shortlist. Tea flavor is on the mild side, which may not appeal to dedicated tea drinkers.
Made with tea leaves that are produced through fair trade methods. Comes in several flavors that have pleasant tea taste without being overly sweet. Ingredients are natural and USDA organic.
Some repeat customers gripe that the tea in some cases had an "off" flavor that wasn't typical of the brand.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
There is nothing more refreshing than a tall glass of iced tea on a hot day. Iced tea aficionados know this cold beverage is enjoyable all year round, whether you drink it with meals or between to keep your energy going. Traditionally, iced teas are brewed from caffeinated black tea. These days, iced teas are made with everything from green tea to herbal, from flavored caffeinated teas to decaffeinated black teas.
Iced teas also come in different forms, including ready-to-drink bottles or powders you mix with water. Some tea bags are even specifically designed to be brewed for iced tea. Be aware that iced teas may be unsweetened, or sweetened with sugar or sugar alternatives.
With the wide variety of iced teas on the market, it can be hard to know which to choose. This is why we’ve simplified the shopping process. You can also keep reading for everything you need to know about how to choose the right iced tea for you.
Black and green tea leaves used for iced teas contain caffeine, though green tea less so. The caffeine content of a glass of iced tea depends on various factors: the amount of tea bags used, amount of water and ice added, the type of tea used (black or green), and the steeping time (the longer you steep, the stronger the caffeine kick). The caffeine content of iced teas can vary widely from brand to brand, anywhere from 5 to 48 mg.
A typical eight-ounce glass of black iced tea will contain 47 mg of caffeine. For people with caffeine sensitivities or who don’t care for the jitters, opt for an iced tea made from decaffeinated tea, which will have a fraction of that amount — around 2 mg.
Interestingly, both green and black teas are made from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant, but differ in how they are prepared. Black tea is fermented — exposed to air which browns the leaves. Green tea is pan-fried to avoid fermentation and is much lighter in color.
This also contributes to the difference in taste and caffeine content. Green tea has less caffeine than black tea, around 25 to 35 mg. Some taste buds prefer the more robust, intense taste of black tea in their iced beverage, while others like the lighter taste of iced green tea.
Herbal iced teas contain zero caffeine. While they may not be considered “iced tea” by strict connoisseurs of the beverage, there are many iced teas made from herbal tea, like hibiscus and passionfruit, to name a few. These can be thirst-quenching on a hot day without giving you a caffeine buzz. Kids may also safely enjoy the fruity flavors.
Never from concentrate
Pure Leaf is high-quality bottled iced tea brewed from loose tea leaves and never made from powders or concentrates. This bold black tea comes sweetened or unsweetened. The tea is ethically sourced from Rainforest Alliance Certified plantations.
Iced green and black teas are rich in antioxidants called polyphenols that have many health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease.
Unsweetened iced teas contain no sugar or artificial sweeteners. They can be quite bitter to the taste, especially black iced teas. They typically don’t have any calories and are a healthy choice, especially if you’re diabetic.
Sweetened iced teas are sweetened with sugar or cane sugar. Other forms of sweeteners include honey or stevia. Sweetened iced teas have more calories than unsweetened varieties, unless sweetened by stevia or artificial sweeteners like aspartame, both sugar-free, zero-calorie alternatives.
Flavored iced teas run the gamut of flavors, including lemon, mint, blackberry, and pretty much any fruit flavor you can imagine. Often these are syrup-based flavorings, so check the label’s sugar content if you’re watching your carb or sugar intake.
Organic iced teas use tea leaves that have not been exposed to pesticides and other agricultural chemicals which can be harmful to your health. These are conveniently labeled with a USDA organic certification.
Fair trade iced teas follow standards that ensure workers harvesting the tea leaves are paid fair wages, work in safe conditions, and can contribute to their communities. Tea is often grown in developing nations where competition in the global marketplace can lead to unfair practices.
An Arnold Palmer (also known as half and half) is a tasty drink made from a mix of half iced tea and half lemonade.
Inexpensive: Powdered mixes are the lowest-priced iced teas available. They start at $8.50 and go up to $15 containers that yield 38 quarts of iced teas. Packets can run as little as $2.50, yielding six 2-quart pitchers of iced tea.
Mid-range: Bottled iced teas are most cost-effective when bought in a pack. A pack of 12 ranges between $9 and $15. Organic bottled iced teas are $20 per case of 12. Individually, store-bought bottled iced tea costs between $1.50 and $3.50, with organic and fair trade options on the higher end of this range.
Expensive: Concentrates of iced tea come at a higher price point of $15 to $24 per bottle or box of packets, but keep in mind, these can yield up to 32 gallons of iced tea.
Different countries have different versions of iced tea. For instance, Thai iced tea is sweetened with sugar and condensed milk.
Affordable powder mix
From a brand that’s synonymous with iced tea, this cost-effective powder mix delivers gallons of iced tea. If you’re a fan of sweet tea, this mix is sweetened with real sugar and comes with a hint of lemon that’ll bring some Southern comfort to every glass. Easy to make: just add it to water and pour over ice.
Although Japanese green tea is traditionally served hot, an iced variety from Japan has hit it big. Ito En Tea Oi Ocha Green Tea, Unsweetened is a healthy green tea choice made from real tea leaves, never from powder or concentrate. Each bottle serves a whopping 17 ounces of unsweetened iced green tea with no artificial ingredients. For an authentic iced green tea, we recommend this brand.
Honest Tea offers this delicious Organic Fair Trade Half Tea & Half Lemonade. If straight iced tea is too bitter for your taste buds, try this mix of lemonade sweetened with organic cane sugar and organic black tea. This brand is committed to using organic ingredients and fair trade practices. Sip on this sweet, refreshing beverage guilt-free.
Q. What is the difference between sweet tea and iced tea?
A. Sweet tea is the most common type of iced tea in the Southern region of the United States. It is black tea brewed very strong with a large amount of sugar added while the tea is still hot. This mixture is diluted with water and cooled, then served over ice. If you order “iced tea” in the South, it’ll likely be sweet tea, whereas if you order iced tea in other regions of the U.S. it’ll be the unsweetened variety. If you want to order plain iced tea in the South, you may have to specify “unsweet tea.”
Q. Are iced teas hydrating?
A. Yes, but be aware they have a diuretic effect, increasing the need to urinate. The myth that caffeine is dehydrating has been debunked, and caffeinated drinks can be part of your daily fluid intake. However, water is still your best option when it comes to staying hydrated, so be sure to drink plenty of it.
Q. Which is better for me, black iced teas or green iced teas?
A. Granted, if you’re choosing an unsweetened variety, both black and green iced teas have health benefits. They both contain flavonoids (a subgroup of antioxidants called polyphenols) that can protect your heart. Green tea contains a higher amount of the flavonoid EGCG, where black tea is a better source of theaflavins. Both contain caffeine which boosts alertness, focus, and mood; iced black teas contain more of this nervous system stimulant. They both also contain L-theanine, an amino acid coffee lacks, that enhances a calm, relaxed state. In a nutshell, both tea varieties offer commensurate if not identical benefits.
Tea House Collection, Organic Iced Tea, Sicilian Lemon & Honeysuckle, 14 Oz. Bottles, Pack of 8
Tea House Collection, Organic Iced Tea, Sicilian Lemon & Honeysuckle, 14 Oz. Bottles, Pack of 8
Trendy flavors with organic tea in glass bottles. This pricey iced tea isn't for everyone, but is appealing to consumers who prefer out-of-the-ordinary blends similar to those found in tea houses.
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